With cities continuously more threatened by climate change induced disasters, urban planning's reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites our readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.
Water & Sanitation
The traditional relief-rehabilitation-development paradigm does not hold true in urban conflict zones. A combined approach of long-term support for systems reinforcing short-term support for individuals would meet people’s needs, secure development gains, and represent value for money. The cost of failing to adapt is simply too high, argues Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Water is a central issue for urban development in Mexico. Groundwater is overexploited, and there is a lack of wastewater treatment facilities. Jorge Silva reviews government programmes that aim to solve the problem.
More than one third of Vietnam's population is living in cities, requiring effective sanitation and stormwater services. Yet their provision is limited, with an estimation of less than 10 per cent of wastewater being treated in urban areas. Sebastian Malter argues that a diversification of drainage systems will support sustainable urban development.
The Forgotten Water – The Role of Decentralised Wastewater Management in Jakarta’s Socio-Ecological System
Jakarta has responded to regular flooding by proposing gigantic infrastructure projects such as sea walls to keep the water at bay. But the main problem is that the city does not consider the land-water ecosystem as a whole, says Prathiwi W. Putri.
Ecosystem loss and degradation contributes to water insecurity worldwide – natural infrastructure strategies that protect and restore natural systems aim to halt and reverse this trend. Suzanne Ozment and Rafael Feltran-Barbieri discuss how water utilities can profit from restoring ecosystems.
How can digitalisation of urban services increase sustainable urbanisation? What different approaches and innovations already exist and have proven successful? Kala Vairavamoorthy, director of the International Water Association addresses these questions.
In urban settlements around the world, city administrations struggle, and often fail, to provide essential services, safe spaces, and socio-economic securities to residents. While this poses difficulties and dangers to all inhabitants, the consequences of such neglect are especially severe for low-income women and girls.
Lagos is suffering from severe water shortage due to profit-oriented politics. Akinbode Oluwafemi points out the conflicts and problems around the privatisation of the water sector and offers alternative solutions for one of the world’s most populous cities.
Windhoek—the capital city of Namibia, the most arid country in Sub-Saharan Africa—has long met its severe water challenges through innovation. But its growing population is increasing its demand for water while climate change exacerbates scarce supplies. On the occation of World Water Day 2018, Pierre van Rensburg highlights the city's innovative augmentation strategies to keep the crisis from becoming a catastrophe.
As World Water Day approaches, URBANET interviewed Mathew Kurian of UN University about managing water supplies in secondary cities. Although often overshadowed by megacities, secondary cities face slightly different—but just as significant—water challenges as their larger neighbours. Kurian argues that secondary cities could be important laboratories for innovative financing mechanisms, but that we must first disrupt the entrenched dis-incentives that promote business as usual.
In order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals related to water, sanitation and hygiene, the government of Madagascar has drawn up an action plan and commissioned JIRAMA, the country’s state-owned electricity and water provider, to improve access to safe water supply.
Providing access to urban sanitation is challenging because of space limitations, complex land tenure and higher public health concerns in crowded settlements. This is especially true for low-income urban areas. For URBANET, Jane Njagi describes how this challenge has been tackled in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya.
Asia is one of the regions of the world that is experiencing extremely rapid urbanisation. The Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) has recently launched a photobook in which case studies of four cities in Asia illustrate innovative ways to tackle issues in key sectors such as flood and drainage management, water supply, transport and waste management.